After two days of leather chasing, Team India gave a decent account of themselves with the bat on day-three of the Adelaide Test. While M Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane scored fifties, captain, Virat Kohli led from the front to bring up his second Test century at the venue. India finished the day with 369 for 5, trailing Australia by 148 runs.
Pujara who made a classy 73 before falling victim to Nathan Lyon, said despite of two tough days on the field, the team was confident of fighting back.
“The plan was to fight back. We discussed that with our batting lineup we can definitely score the number of runs they scored on this wicket,” he said. “It was about proving to ourselves that we can achieve it and we are in a good position to do so.
“They tried bowling into the stumps as well as outside the off-stump. But the way we batted, we should get some credit for it. We want to respect all the bowlers and be aggressive at the same time. We are here to score runs and that’s what we have done. This is a positive start for us and we want to carry on.
“Most of our batsmen scored runs, starting from our openers and we always had one partnership going. They all spent time in the middle and that is a positive for us,” Pujara said.
India’s No. 3 batsman was particularly effusive in his praise for Virat, who went on to score a brave 115 after being struck right in the middle of his helmet by Mitchell Johnson off the first ball he faced.
“He forgot about that ball that hit him and batted really well. His innings was very crucial for us and it was fun to watch him today.”
When Pujara was batting, it looked like he would go on to get one of his trademark big centuries, something he hasn’t done since his 153 in Johannesburg a year ago. While he admitted the disappointment of not converting a fifty into a three-digit figure, Pujara was not overly concerned.
“At times I do feel disappointed that I haven’t been able to capitalize on my starts. But then I understand that you can’t score a double century each time in cricket. I want to score as many runs as possible but it doesn’t always happen,” he said. “Sometimes, you have to respect the opposition and accept it. But every time I get out, I assess what went wrong and try to come back strongly.”
Pujara’s knock ended when a ball from Lyon hit the rough area created by the footmarks and ricocheted his bat on its way to the stumps. Acknowledging the Australian off-spinner’s effort, Pujara said he has improved a lot as a bowler since they met the last time.
“He has improved his bowling, no doubt about it. He was getting a bit of turn from the rough and was hitting that area well. From when I faced him last year in India, he has definitely improved as a bowler.
“I thought I was a bit unlucky. First I didn’t know where the ball was. I thought I had stopped the ball but when I watched the replay I realized that it went so fast that I didn’t have the time to stop it going on to the stumps,” he said, analyzing his dismissal.
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